The workers of Lonmin Platinum Mine in Marikana, Rustenburg, South Africa, arrived at work this morning, and have refused to go underground. This disruptive action is raising concerns of yet another radical unpleasant incident. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that 13 shafts were not operational and admitted the reason for this action was unknown and that there was no indication of the strike being legal. Urgent Meetings between the company and the Unions will take place to find a solution for this unnecessary action by its members.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) confirmed the tense situation around the mine this morning. The workers of Lonmin, mainly the ones affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers Union (Amcu) were singing, dancing, and once again requesting the removal of the (NUM) office. During March this year, a similar incident occurred when the workers requested the removal of the (NUM) office.
The President of (AMCU) appealed to its members to remain calm following the tragic shooting accident on Saturday of their North West regional manager. It is not evident whether the work stoppage this morning arose due to the devastating mafia style shooting on Saturday when four men armed with guns shot dead the regional manager, Steve Khululekile.
Lonmin, the world’s 3rd biggest platinum producer, have since the 2012 strike and the death of 34 miners being the cause of a tense atmosphere between the two different unions. The competition between the (AMCU) and (NUM) intensified once again. Since (AMCU) has lured more than ten thousand members away from the (NUM) and (AMCU) declaring their union the major one for that company. We have to take into consideration that perhaps it is more of an intimidation war between the unions than the actual mine resulting in the unrest and bullying tactics of its employees. The past fifteen months of unrest and striking action at the Lonmin mine have a detrimental effect on the profits of the company, and the economy of South Africa. The law enforcement activity in that area needs to be respected and applied. A constant difficulty of enforcing the law remains a challenge while the lack of respect between the two union members continues to flare up.
The persistent unrest at the Lonmin while the commission inquiry into the 2012 strike and death of 34 members continues, causes the lawlessness in that area to create a reason for concern. Especially after losing two of its key witnesses.
Written by Laura Oneale